Easy Gardens

A holiday at home

Caroline and Tim Norris opted for seating, a kitchen, a summerhous­e and hot tub that turns their garden into the perfect staycation spot!

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Readers turn their plot into the perfect staycation spot

After extending and renovating their home, which took around nine months, Caroline and Tim Norris decided to take a break for a couple of years before turning their attention to the garden. ‘We are both complete garden novices, so we really needed to think about what we wanted and do lots of research,’ says Caroline.

The garden was a good size, stocked with mature shrubs and trees, but the couple rarely ventured past the patio seating area, which meant all that space was going to waste.

‘We went to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival as a starting point,’ says Caroline, ‘then we used Pinterest to find images to illustrate a wish list of what we had in mind for the garden.

‘Luckily, we knew a landscape gardener, Simon Fraser, and trusted him to do a good job. Initially, we paid him a

£500 design fee to plot out everything on our wish list. We tried not to be too prescripti­ve, so he had the freedom to come up with creative solutions and ideas that we hadn’t thought of.’

Once the plans were agreed, the garden was cleared and the summerhous­e was built, taking five days, including one to lay the foundation­s. Simon did the rest, including the raised beds, outdoor kitchen, shed, wood store and planting. ‘We wanted low-maintenanc­e plants, especially various grasses, to create the Mediterran­ean look I had in mind,’ says Caroline.

The summerhous­e

The garden room doubles as a living space and home office, decorated with green accents to visually link with the garden beyond. ‘We found a brilliant company called Green Retreats, which sorted it all for us – design, build and electrics,’ says Caroline.

Simple mistake

‘We chose the wrong pebbles for the path! They don’t blend well with the garden and are tough on bare feet. It would be easy to change, but we’ve decided to live with them.’

Cooking al fresco

‘We used white rendered breeze blocks, to match the house, and installed a pizza oven from Blistering Woodfired Ovens,’ says Caroline.

Spa corner

‘We saw hot tubs on a trip to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival and it inspired us to buy one – a natural wood design from Riviera Hot Tubs. It was definitely the right decision. It means that we are in the garden summer and winter – we were even in it on Christmas Eve!’

 ??  ?? Staycation vibes ‘Being in the garden feels like being on holiday in all seasons,’ Caroline explains.
The use of furniture like sunlounger­s give a real poolside feel.
Staycation vibes ‘Being in the garden feels like being on holiday in all seasons,’ Caroline explains. The use of furniture like sunlounger­s give a real poolside feel.
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 ??  ?? Before the redesign The couple never really ventured past the patio
Before the redesign The couple never really ventured past the patio
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 ??  ?? Outdoor kitchen Anyone for pizza!
Real wood Reclaimed timber gives the garden a lived-in look
View from the patio
Wooden elements – a deck, raised bed edging and a plank path – give the garden structure and are easy to maintain. The grey stones and paving setts were chosen to tie in with the house’s window frames and roof
Outdoor kitchen Anyone for pizza! Real wood Reclaimed timber gives the garden a lived-in look View from the patio Wooden elements – a deck, raised bed edging and a plank path – give the garden structure and are easy to maintain. The grey stones and paving setts were chosen to tie in with the house’s window frames and roof
 ??  ?? Weatherpro­ofing All-weather sofas can be left out all year round and match the interior decor
Weatherpro­ofing All-weather sofas can be left out all year round and match the interior decor
 ??  ?? Spa time Fast-growing bamboo screens off the hot tub, which is overlooked
Spa time Fast-growing bamboo screens off the hot tub, which is overlooked

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